Prince Markie D: “$3.99 for all you can eat?
Well, I’m a stuff my face to a funki beat!”
Kool Rock Ski: “We’re gonna walk inside, and guess what’s up? Put some food in my plate, and some Coke in my cup”
-Fat Boys, All You Can Eat
A few weeks back the Royal Wedding distracted us from one of the most important seasons in the country, Food Festival season! After slushing through another crappy winter, at the finish line sits weekends full of food, wine, and beer festivals. I’ll be honest, there are few things that get me more jazzed than a day of good drinking and eating with friends and family in the open air. Understand the importance of supporting these events. These people are our family, friends, neighbors, little league coaches, volunteer fire fighters, local musicians, etc. Within these food events is the heartbeat of local businesses operating at their finest. These events are a lifeline for these businesses on top of being the grassroots efforts they are making to get to know and interact within the community.
Normally, I’m a wine and food truck type of guy; I’m just fancy like that. But this year, for my first festival of the year, I found myself in Morristown, NJ for the Beer, BBQ, and Bacon Showdown. It was moved indoors because of rain to the Morristown Armory. The place was tented out with local beer makers, BBQ food trucks and local eateries. I even noticed cigar stations, and t-shirt vendors; as well as other random other kiosks. People were walking shoulder to shoulder. The place was jammin!
As I go regularly to these events, I’ve gotten familiar with some of vendors that I see after different venues. This day I ran into possibly my favorite New Jersey food truck, El Lechon De Negron. Featured was “Abuelo Lechon”, with is Spanish for “grandfather of roast pig”. Roast pig dishes like Lechon are a delicacy in Puerto Rico where Abuelo Lechon is from. There’s definitely no false advertisement either, the man knows what to do with some pork. His famous “Lechon Burger” is one of the most tender, flavorful, mouth-watering burgers you’ll ever have in your life!
Now as a veteran to the food, wine, and beer events, allow me to give you some tips on how to have a successful “foodie season” when attending these types of events.
Travel with a posse. A good food festival has an unfathomable amount of food trucks if your hoping to try a little of everything. With a team, you can split the costs, and everyone can share most things, therefore having more tummy space for more food. And if you’re a germaphobe about it, you might as well stay home.
Hydration is key! Bring some bottled waters with you. Most festivals allow it. Water doesn’t fill you up as quickly as soda does and more cost efficient. Plus, if you’re drinking, the water keeps you in the game longer and less likely to get sick. At minimum chug some water before you start drinking. This is an important one. It’s also good to have an idea as to where the bathrooms are before you start.
Step out of your comfort zone. If you’re just having plain burgers, hot dogs or pizza, what are you really going for? This is an opportunity to try some things you’ve never had before. Thanks to these festivals, I’ve eaten camel burgers, alligator sausage, cabernet infused truffles, fried almond joys, beer soap, the list goes on. You’re not a “foodie” unless you’re willing to try anything once.
Dress comfortably. These tend to be long days. No one wants to hear your feet hurt. This may be a day of a lot of walking. So fellas make sure you choose something quality and ladies I wouldn’t go showing off the new shoes you bought. Wear your comfortable shoes, loose pants and shirt. You’re going to need some room.
Last but not least, please pace yourself. Trust me, I know the second you walk in, you see five trucks you already want to hit. Pick one, and then do a couple laps before you hit the next spot. Some of these festivals have some gems hidden near the back of them. Don’t get knocked out the game before halftime. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Apply the same logic to drinking as well. No one wants to babysit you, bro.
With these tips, you will have a safe and merry festival season. Now get out there and support your local businesses!